Customer Experience Isn't the Only Thing; It's Everything

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Customer Strategy
Customer Experience
Is your customer experience where it needs to be? If not, your business may be missing valuable opportunities to boost customer satisfaction and improve retention. Worse yet, you may soon be facing critical problems.

Is your customer experience where it needs to be? If not, your business may be missing valuable opportunities to boost customer satisfaction and improve retention. Worse yet, you may soon be facing critical problems.Oklahoma City Thunder and Match.com, the gold and silver winners in the Customer Experience category of the 2012 Gartner & 1to1 Media CRM Excellence Awards, demonstrate that customer experience isn't the only thing; it's everything.

By building a customer-centric organization from the ground up, The Oklahoma City Thunder, has been able to build one-to-one relationships with each of its season ticketholders and elevate the fan experience at every game. The organization continuously educates, evaluates, and congratulates its employees on proactively enhancing the overall customer experience.

These efforts have gone a long way to ensuring guest satisfaction, and the results speak for themselves. The organization's 2008 Net Promoter Score was 85.6 percent; last season it increased to 91.2 percent. Additionally, 97 percent of guests rated their overall customer experience as "good" or "excellent" last year, up from 92 percent in the 2009-2010 timeframe, and 93 percent rated the service with merchandise vendors "good" or "excellent," up from 84 percent during the same period. Finally, SMRI ranks the Thunder as the top NBA team in overall fan experience.

Match.com is also customer experience-focused. The company led a change designed not only to help improve customer satisfaction, but also to elevate customer care to become a driving force in the organization. As a result, enhancements to the customer engagement strategy have led to numerous improvements. For example, customer satisfaction has increased from 17 to 50 percent for email support, and satisfaction with IVR support has increased from 70 to 85 percent. Most important, internal research shows that members who have engaged with Match.com customer care purchase at a higher rate after their interactions than those members who do not interact with customer care.

In "2012 Trends to Watch: Customer Service," I wrote that "The increase in customers' control of their experiences will continue to challenge the processes, organizational structures, and systems that companies have put in place to communicate with customers, and will require a change in corporate mind-sets, as well. Companies must adapt to the new ways in which customers want brands to serve them."

Oklahoma City Thunder and Match.com prove that companies that successfully adapt to such changes and challenge the processes, will indeed reap the benefits of an enhanced customer experience.

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EXPERT OPINION